U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

  • FIRM

    SmithGroup

  • CLIENT

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • AREA

    400,000 sq.ft.

  • TOTAL COST

    $131,000,000.00

  • COMPLETION DATE

    7/1997

The National Conservation Training Center is a new 500-acre, 14-building campus. A comprehensive educational environment, the facility supports an annual visiting-student population of more than 8,000 and a full-time staff of 200.

Campus culture emphasizes collaborative and collegial learning. The design creates formal and informal learning environments to maximize ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$240.00CITATIONSpecialized Facility Citation, Gold CitationFEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio1998 Educational InteriorsSUB CATEGORYSpecialized for faculty/student dialogue and peer education. A system of flexible classroom environments, integrated indoor and outdoor breakout areas, plentiful social spaces, and a connected pathway system linking student activity areas support this cooperative approach.

The design also focuses on academic placemaking in a natural environment. Quads, formal spaces, community areas, vistas and quiet nooks for reflection, which all share a common architectural vocabulary and scale, create a memorable image and experience. Visually and ecologically harmonious vernacular building forms and materials, proven sustainability strategies and responsible waste-management and energy systems allow the project to rest lightly on the land.

The 400,000-square-foot program is organized into four multiple building campuses. The Training and Instructional Campus features administration/main auditorium/museum building; instructional buildings with training, seminar/classrooms and offices; laboratory building with biomedical and freshwater teaching laboratories. The Residential Campus features three 50-unit dormitories. The Commons Social Campus features the commons lodge with dining room, cafeteria, lounge and library, and physical training building with ball courts, weight room and aerobics area. The Environmental Education Campus features the education programs office building; training and education material production building and daycare center.

The design of the campus buildings derives from vernacular farm and camp structures typical of the area and also refers to the 18-century farm buildings still extant on the property.

Photographer: ©Prakash Patel

"Great mixture of materials, especially stone and natural wood; impressive use of lighting sources."—1998 Interiors jury

"Excellent relationship of design to client`s program. Good sense of place."—1998 Architectural Portfolio jury